Wednesday, September 22, 2021
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Hurricane Larry to become major hurricane over Atlantic; forecasters also eye another system in the Caribbean – USA TODAY

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  • Hurricane Larry is predicted to reach Category 4 strength over the open waters of the central Atlantic Ocean this weekend.
  • The storm could eventually approach Bermuda – or even veer toward North America.
  • Forecasters were also keeping an eye on a low-pressure system in the Caribbean.

Following the catastrophic path of Hurricane Ida and its remnants over the southern and eastern U.S. this week, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season shows no signs of slowing down. 

Hurricane Larry is predicted to reach Category 4 strength over the open waters of the central Atlantic Ocean this holiday weekend, forecasters from the National Hurricane Center said Friday. 

A Category 4 hurricane has winds between 130-156 mph. By early Monday, Larry should have sustained winds of 140 mph as it roars in the central Atlantic, the Hurricane Center said. 

The storm is projected to remain over the the Atlantic for several more days, but it could eventually approach Bermuda – or even veer toward North America, AccuWeather said.

On Friday, Larry was located over 1,000 miles to the west of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands and was moving west at 16 mph. That’s about 2,500 miles east of most locations on the East Coast of the U.S.

More: 2021 hurricane season is half over: After intense start, is there more to come in September?

Though Larry is forecast to remain far from most land areas in coming days, “swells generated by Larry are expected to reach the Lesser Antilles on Sunday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the Hurricane Center said.

There are some indications that the storm could make a close approach to Newfoundland, Canada, around Sept. 10-11, AccuWeather said. 

Meanwhile, forecasters were also keeping an eye on a low-pressure system in the Caribbean, which could affect the Gulf Coast toward the end of next week.

“There is a small window of opportunity for development as this low moves northward into the northwestern Gulf of Mexico late next week into a region of low wind shear and very warm water,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. “If it is able to do this, there is some chance it could become an organized tropical system off the Texas or southwestern Louisiana coast.”

The Hurricane Center is giving this system a 30% chance of development into a tropical depression or storm over the next five days.

“It is too early to provide details on any potential impacts, but regardless of tropical cyclone development, there could be an increase in moisture and rainfall along portions of the northern Gulf Coast next week,” the New Orleans National Weather Service office said Friday.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30, has been brutal so far, with 12 named storms, five of which have hit the U.S. (Danny, Elsa, Fred, Henri and Ida). And the typical peak of the season is still days away on Sept. 10.  

“We’re running well ahead of schedule, especially for named storms,” Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach told USA TODAY this week.

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